Structural features of molecular electrocatalysts in multi-electron redox processes for renewable energy – recent advances
Understanding the structural features of molecular electrocatalysts for carbon dioxide reduction and water oxidation is essential for manufacturing next generation catalysts for renewable energy. We will discuss the crucial structural motifs of those catalysts that have shown novel characteristics in recent years in terms of electrocatalytic efficacy (high TON, TOF and low overpotential), product selectivity and mechanisms. Both inorganic and organic homogeneous catalysts are scrutinized in this review. We will also highlight electrocatalysts with dual activity (i.e. they are able to catalyze both water oxidation and CO2 reduction) as an interesting prospect from the point of view of a single catalyst electrolyzer: a possible design for future easy-to-manufacture effective electrolyzers. This discussion will enrich the overall knowledge on the electrocatalyst design, an important step towards the development of efficient catalysts with cutting edge designs for a renewable energy future and practical applications.